Black Women Got Their Shine On At The 2021 BET Awards

Queen Latifah, Megan Thee Stallion, Jazmine Sullivan and other Black women got well-deserved recognition at the annual awards show.
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Black women were exactly where they needed to be at the 2021 BET Awards on Sunday: on top, slaying the game and receiving the flowers they deserve.

From multifaceted icon Queen Latifah getting the Lifetime Achievement Award to Megan Thee Stallion鈥檚 dynamic 鈥淭hot S**t鈥 performance to Lauren London honoring Darnella Frazier, who was 17 when she filmed George Floyd鈥檚 murder, the night was dedicated to uplifting and celebrating Black women.

Hosted by actor Taraji P. Henson, the theme for this year鈥檚 awards was 鈥淭he Year of The Black Woman.鈥 Ahead of the show, Henson told HuffPost that she鈥檚 honored to be hosting the award show with such a powerful theme.

鈥淟ike Malcolm X said, we were just the most disrespected neglected, unappreciated. Tonight, what we鈥檙e going to do on BET? We鈥檙e going to uplift all the queens,鈥 she said.

Rep. Maxine Waters (D-Calif.), Issa Rae, Jazmine Sullivan, Zendaya and other Black women celebrities sat in the front row at the show, which took place at the Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles. Henson honored the women in attendance with flowers. She also honored those not in attendance, including giving tennis star Naomi Osaka a shoutout for advocating for her mental health.

鈥淟ook at us. Look around the room. Look at this power. The grace, the class, the edges, we are everything honey. Celebrating Black women isn鈥檛 a fad or a trend, it鈥檚 a forever mood,鈥 Henson told the audience. 鈥淎nd there is more than enough room for all of us to thrive. Cause can鈥檛 nobody be me like me and can鈥檛 nobody be you like you.鈥

鈥淭onight we鈥檙e also reclaiming our aesthetics, baby hairs, long blinged-out nails, yeah, we taking all that back, gold hoops, bamboo earrings. 鈥 Our Black men, we want all y鈥檃ll back, because we love you, we see you, kings, and most importantly, we need you.鈥

Here are some of the most memorable moments from Sunday night鈥檚 show.

Cardi B鈥檚 surprise pregnancy reveal

During Migos鈥 performance of 鈥淭ype S**t,鈥 which features Cardi, the Bronx rapper revealed that she and Offset were expecting baby No. 2. She donned a custom Dolce & Gabbana bodysuit with a mesh cutout showing her belly.

Cardi B and Offset of Migos perform onstage at the BET Awards 2021.
Cardi B and Offset of Migos perform onstage at the BET Awards 2021.
Johnny Nunez via Getty Images

Taraji P. Henson dressed as some of her favorite Black women

Henson showed love to folks, including Diana Ross, Tina Turner, H.E.R and Erykah Badu, throughout the show. The actor wore outfits inspired by Black women important to her. She put on her acting hat and tapped into some of her alter egos to give a nod to these women.

Taraji P. Henson speaks onstage at the BET Awards 2021.
Taraji P. Henson speaks onstage at the BET Awards 2021.
Johnny Nunez via Getty Images

Lauren London gave Darnella Frazier the Shine A Light Award

The actor has been selective about her public appearances since the death of Nipsey Hussle. At the ceremony, she announced Darnella Frazier, who recorded video of then-cop Derek Chauvin kneeling on George Floyd鈥檚 neck, as the winner of the Shine A Light Award.

鈥淪ometimes in life, it just takes one person to prove that we play a large part in getting the accountability we deserve. She didn鈥檛 set out to change the world, she set out to do what was right,鈥 London told the audience.

Lauren London speaks onstage at the BET Awards 2021.
Lauren London speaks onstage at the BET Awards 2021.
Johnny Nunez via Getty Images

H.E.R.鈥檚 one-woman band performance

H.E.R. put her musicianship on full display. The Grammy-winning artist, who was also celebrating a birthday Sunday, not only performed her single 鈥淲e Made It,鈥 but she also played the drums and electric guitar during her set.

She also took home the award for Best Female R&B/Pop Artist. In her acceptance speech, she shined a light on the importance on the BET Awards.

鈥淚 just want you guys to know how important this stage is, I want you guys to know how important is it to recognize each other and to celebrate each other,鈥 she said. 鈥淲e all know sometimes, if we don鈥檛, who else will?鈥

H.E.R. performs onstage at the BET Awards 2021.
H.E.R. performs onstage at the BET Awards 2021.
Bennett Raglin via Getty Images

Megan Thee Stallion wins big and honors her late mom

The Houston hottie was on a winning streak on Sunday as she snagged the awards for Best Female Hip-Hop Artist, Video of the Year with Cardi B for 鈥淲AP,鈥 and Viewers Choice Award with Beyonc茅 for 鈥淪avage (Remix).鈥

During her acceptance speech for Best Female Hip-Hop Artist, she paid tribute to her mom, who died in 2019 just as Megan鈥檚 star was ascending. She said her mom is the reason she started rapping.

鈥淪he can鈥檛 be here with me today but I still think about her every day and she is the reason why I keep going,鈥 she told the crowd.

Megan Thee Stallion accepts the Viewer鈥檚 Choice Award onstage at the BET Awards 2021.
Megan Thee Stallion accepts the Viewer鈥檚 Choice Award onstage at the BET Awards 2021.
Bennett Raglin via Getty Images

Queen Latifah receives a tribute fit for royalty

BET honored the actor-rapper-producer-mogul with the highest honor of the night, the Lifetime Achievement Award. She got her long overdue flowers for her impact on Hollywood, and especially on Black women. MC Lyte, Rapsody, Lil 鈥橩im and Monie Love took the stage to perform 鈥淟adies First鈥 and 鈥淯.N.I.T.Y.鈥 before Queen accepted her award. She brought her father and a photo of her late mom with her as she gave her speech.

鈥淚 want to thank BET for creating an outlet for beautiful Blackness to thrive, to shine, when we couldn鈥檛 get played on the radio and other places,鈥 she said. 鈥淲e couldn鈥檛 get our videos played in other places; there was BET that allowed us to be in our fullness and to shine.鈥

Queen Latifah attends the BET Awards 2021.
Queen Latifah attends the BET Awards 2021.
Bennett Raglin via Getty Images

Jazmine Sullivan and Ari Lennox鈥檚 sultry performance

The two powerhouse vocalists joined forces to give their first live performance of 鈥淥n It,鈥 from Sullivan鈥檚 latest project, 鈥淗eaux Tales.鈥

Sullivan, whose performance kicked off with a 鈥渞eclaiming my time鈥 moment from Maxine Waters herself, also won a big award later in the night, receiving the award for Album of the Year. She also brought her mom onstage to accept the award with her, opening up about her journey with breast cancer.

鈥淢y mom was diagnosed with breast cancer two years ago so we didn鈥檛 see any of this happening, but God has been so faithful to us and my mom is in remission,鈥 Sullivan said. 鈥淭his is my prize. This is my gift. It means more to me than anything that she鈥檚 here with me. She supported me all my life.鈥

(L-R) Jazmine Sullivan and Ari Lennox perform onstage at the BET Awards 2021.
(L-R) Jazmine Sullivan and Ari Lennox perform onstage at the BET Awards 2021.
Bennett Raglin via Getty Images
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